Posts Tagged ‘minnesota twins’

Bottom of the Ninth: That Heath Crunch for @Razzball

Bottom of the Ninth: That Heath Crunch for Razzball: http://razzball.com/bottom-of-the-ninth-that-heath-crunch/. Check out a roto and fantasy baseball analysis of the bullpen and closer situations for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals.

Check You out on the Flip Side: Ken Schrom

For some reason, the cards with the most interesting information seem to be from players who had limited to no appearances after 1987 (and obviously the 1987 Topps set was the gold standard for back-of-card information – or lack thereof).

Schrom was no different. He wrapped up his seven-year career in 1986 by posting a 6.50 ERA, 5.70 FIP and 1.57 WHIP in 153.2 IPs.

Until then, Schrom had been a reasonably, albeit completely average, innings eater over the course of his career.

His best season (which wasn’t the year he made the All-star team, oddly (or not) enough) was 1983 for the Minnesota Twins. He went 15-8 in 196.1 IPs, and posted a 3.71 ERA, 4.23 FIP and 1.41 WHIP.

His All-star appearance in 1986 was almost entirely driven by the BABIP gods. Before the ASG, his BABIP was .241 and he had a 3.88 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. After the ASG, his BABIP was .291 and he had a 5.44 ERA and 1.39 WHIP – holy regression monster.

Schrom definitely learned the ins and out of baseball however. While playing, he spent over 15 seasons with the El Paso Diablos and now is an executive of the Corpus Christi Hooks. I always remark on the odd jobs players had to have in the off-season, even in the 80s. As odd jobs go, working with a minor league squad seems about the best.

If you don’t know the Diablos, the organization graduated such notable players as Tom Brunansky, Bob Ferris, Teddy Higuera, Randy Johnson, Byung-Hyun Kim, Carney Lansford, Lyle Overbay, Brad Penny, Gary Sheffield, Dan Uggla, Brandon Webb, Cory Lidle, Carlos Quentin and Chris Snyder.

It has to be pretty to cool to both be a major leaguer and help develop major league talent. Kudos to Schrom!

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h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: David West/Frank Viola


And I thought the grammar on the back of the Topps cards were bad. Man, Upper Deck, which was so hot in 1990, really flubbed this one. There are so many missing words in this that it’s ridiculous. How hard would it be to write: “West was key part of 5 pitcher deal to the Mets for Frank Viola. He was drafted #4 by Mets in June ’83.” And, by #4 they mean a fourth rounder, not that he was the fourth overall pick.

So he wasn’t as big of a bust as you would surmise. He did spend 10 seasons in the majors, finishing with a 4.66 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 1.41 K:BB rate in 569.1 innings. He had one decent year for the Twins, in 1991, when he started 12 games and finished with a 4.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He really helped the Twins get to the World Series that year, as he threw 5.2 innings in relief in the ALCS without allowing a run. Of course, his World Series was terrible, as he finished with an ERA of infinity (he allowed four runs without recording an out).

Two years later, he had arguably his best season (2.92 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 1.71 K:BB) for the Phillies. Thanks to Mitch Williams, his utter relief failures are not as heavily remembered. In the NLCS, he allowed five runs/four earned in 2.2 innings and in the World Series, he allowed three earned runs in just one inning of work. He made well over $2.5 million in his career, tasted victory and defeat and even played in Japan. Still, he was by no means the key part of the Frank Viola trade (at least in hindsight).

In addition to West, the New York Mets sent Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummon and Kevin Tapani to the Twins.

Adding in those elements makes this not a particularly astute move by the Mets (but what else is new). While West was worth -0.3 WAR for the Twins, Aguilera was worth 16.1 WAR, Drummon was worth 0.7 WAR and Tapani was worth 17.5 WAR. At the time of the deal, Aguilera (who has an awesome beard) was 27 and owned a career 3.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP for the Mets over 473 innings. Aguilera was especially valuable in 1991, posting a 2.35 ERA with 42 saves and a 1.07 WHIP – heck he even received some MVP votes. He also threw 8.1 innings in the play-offs, earning five saves and allowing just one earned run.

Tapani also turned in a banner season in 1991: 34 starts, 244 innings, a 2.99 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 3.38 K:BB rate. He finished seventh in the CY Young voting, but you could make the argument that he deserved to be top four, at least. Tapani didn’t fare so well in the 1991 ALCS, getting shellacked by the Toronto Blue Jays. But he redeemed himself in the World Series: he started two games, pitched 12 innings and went 1-1.

That’s a blueprint for building a championship there. The Twins gave up one decent starting pitcher who was near 30 for a bunch of younger cheaper pieces.

So what about Viola? At the time of the deal, Viola was 29 and would be worth 9.6 WAR for the Mets. He was effectively done after 1993, just four years after the deal.

Still, he had a fantastic career. He gave up the 3,000th hit to Rod Carew in 1985. When it was all said and done, Viola started 420 games, the 27th most in baseball history by a southpaw. He won 176 games of those games, the 43rd most by a lefty. Of course he also lost 150 games, tied for the 34th most by a southpaw (with Hal Newhouser and Ken Hotlzman). Viola finished with 1,844 Ks, the 26th most all-time by a lefty. Not bad.

I always love looking at these types of deals – it seems that giving tons of young cheap talent for near-30s “stars” comes back to bite the team giving the young talent more often than not. Still, you have to give the Twins credit for dealing Viola who had just helped them win a World Series two years before.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: Gary Gaetti

I write a lot for a living and for fun. So I get caught up in wording – both incredibly awesome turns of phrases and the unsuccessful. So, I ask, is it possible Topps got a computer to write the anecdotes for the backs of the 1993 cards? I’ve never heard of anyone enjoying the distinction of something – it sounds like one of those auto-Fantasy team name generators.

Regardless of how the card was worded, it’s a pretty cool footnote on a career to score the 20,000th  run in a franchises’ history.

But it’s just a footnote, because what a career Gaetti amassed. When it was all said and done, he appeared in the 43rd most career games (2507) in baseball history – just behind Bill Buckner.

He finished with the 36th most doubles by a righty, oddly 36 more than Barry Larkin, Steve Garvey and Luke Appling. He also tallied the 42nd most RBIs by a righty — more than Mike Piazza, Hank Greenberg, Hugh Duffy, and others.

Of course, the bane of longevity is the GIDPs – Gaetti created two outs from one hit the 32nd most times in MLB history. He put in play a twin killing 236 times – one more than George Brett. He also swung and missed a lot – the 21st most times in MLB history. Still, with great Ks, comes great power: he has the sixth most HRs by a 3b in MLB history.

In all those games, he ended up participating in the 15th most losses in MLB history and ended 116 of the 1314 games he lost.

In addition to his milestone run scores, Gaetti was part of the seventh most triple plays in MLB history and was part of two in one game!

Still, he is most known for the 1987 post-season. He was the MVP of the American League Championship with a .300/.348/.650 line with two HRs, which happen to be the first time in MLB history that a player hit homers in his first two postseason plate appearances.

Gaetti had a long meandering career worth 37.9 WAR. Hey, he was even used as a reliever twice, by two different teams. He finished with a 7.71 ERA and one strikeout in three appearances.

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h2h Corner ~ I’m a Believer: May Edition

It struck me that this piece could be known as the twitter column…

ZobristZorrilla

Surprise, surprise, Lance Berkman is the top first baseman and my boy Zobrist is in the top 5. Expect Fielder/Pujols to replace them, with Teixeira and Howard filling out the top seven. Just a crazy deep position – I feel bad for those stuck with Justin Morneau and Kendrys Morales.

The Orioles have some buy low guys…Guerrero, Scott.

How is the human body so different from vessel to vessel: Holliday/Dunn, Bay/Morneau.

Matt Holliday – most underrated baseball player of the last few years? According to the players/Neyer, it is Shin-soo Choo. Hard to argue against that. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before the Season Even Starts: Joe Nathan

Joe Nathan – Current ADP 210 – My Rank: 75th pitcher; 15th RP

Joe Nathan did the fantasy community a good turn by getting injured before most drafts took place in 2010. Indeed this made him somewhat of a bargain in keeper/dynasty leagues. I was able to snag him late in my long-term keeper league and, subsequently, can keep him very late in 2011’s draft. Obviously this makes my decision on him simple.

However, what to do with a previous lock stock and two smoking barrels top three closer for the past several years? Really, it’s all about health. According to John Shipley with the Pioneer-Press, Nathan’s most recent (and first in almost a year) bullpen session “couldn’t have gone better.” In an age where everyone who reports to spring training is skinnier and in the best shape of their lives, we can only take this with a grain of salt.

However, someone we can trust to give great candid thoughts on injuries is Will Carroll of SI.com. I reached out to him via Twitter (you can follow him here) and e-mail, and he wrote:

“Nathan, like any pitcher coming back from elbow reconstruction, is 95% likely to come back to their previous level by the 12 month period. That’s where Nathan is – or will be by opening day, which is what the Twins really care about. Billy Wagner is the easy comparison on age and role, but it’s also a pretty valid one. There’s no reason to think that Nathan won’t be what he used to be at this stage.”

So, all signs point to Nathan being healthy – and lets remember what I said about Wagner last year. In his last three healthy seasons, Nathan has averaged 41 saves, a 1.77 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 80 Ks. Those are clearly #1 closer numbers. Monitor his health diligently this spring – if all signs are clear, he could easily be worth drafting 100+ spots higher than his current ADP.

When your draft comes around don’t wait for Nathan’s name to come up on your ticker – be sure to have him queued up as he will be a top five closer and you should draft accordingly. My ranking is entirely a result of being published in early January and not knowing much about his health.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discreetly of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Frank Williams/Eric King/Danny Gladden

frank williams backfrank williams ftront

Man, the ’80s were different times. We’re only talking 23 years, but the world sure has changed.

For instance, Frank Williams had to work construction in the off-season. Could you imagine a player with decent major league experience being employed as something other than a “baseball player?” I wonder what his taxes looked like.

By the time this card was printed, Williams had pitched parts of three seasons for the Giants, totaled 231.2 innings, and posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Sure his K-rate declined every year (from 7.70 to 6.66 to 5.68) but he was worth 2.1 wins above a replacement player – not bad for a construction worker.

By 1989, Williams would have a pretty decent MLB line: 3.00 ERA, 471.2 innings, and a 1.38 WHIP. Unfortunately, a car crash would end his career and send his life spiraling out of control. He would die of a heart attack at 50 in 2009.

My hope is that Williams — wherever he is — gets to relive August 24, 1984. On that day, Williams recorded two relief wins against the Mets. Not a lot of people get to win a game in the majors, let alone two in one day. Congrats, Condolences.

I didn’t realize Williams’ tale was so tragic when I began this flip side. If you were thinking of someone who might have a dangerous motor vehicle accident (*ahem* Jeff Kent), you might have guessed it was Eric King. Like Williams, King was a construction worker in the off-season. Also similarly, King earned 1.5 WAR in his first season (going 11-4 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 138.1 innings in 1986).

eric king backeric king frontHis next three seasons would show promise, but, ultimately, be pedestrian (3.90 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, just 5.4 K/9). However, he’d pitch real well in 1990 and 1991 (earning 5.3 WAR) and securing a million dollar payday (let’s hope there was no motorcycle clause in his contract). It was an odd career for King as he’d be out of baseball after the 1992 season. In all, though, he was part of some fascinating trades that included the likes of Matt Nokes, Bob Melvin and Cory Snyder. He’d retire with a 3.97 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 4.8 K/9 in 863.1 innings.

While it’s clear being a construction worker was a common occupation for ’80s ballplayers, apparently so was a love of motorcycles. Like King, Danny Gladden (who would later become a memorable golden retriever-like Twin) was a fan of motorcycles. He took it one step further by “[enjoying] competition water skiing and motorcycle racing.” I presume he took part in them, but maybe not.

gladden backgladden frontNot surprisingly, Gladden played the game with, what I remember to be, reckless abandon. He averaged 27 SBs and 11 caught stealings from 1984-1990. During that time, he would post a .277/.332/.385 slash line. Still that didn’t quite live-up to Gladden’s promise. He got to the majors late (becoming a full time player in 1984 at 26). That’d be, quite possibly, his best year as well: .351/.410/.447 in 86 games. He’d earn 3.4 WAR that season.

I was way too young to remember Gladden as a Giant. What I remember: Gladden was the Twins version of Lenny Dykstra. Gladden’s play in game seven of the 1991 World Series will be forever cemented in my mind: he stretched a bloop into a double en route to scoring the winning run on Gene Larkin’s base hit in the bottom of the 10th inning of Jack Morris’ game. When he was rounding first, his hair flying, you could almost see him revving his engine.

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